I’ve been an Aweber customer since 2009… that’s a long time in Internet years.
Back then it was the autoresponder to use.
And during those years, every time I was asked about email marketing I proudly recommended Aweber.
But that all changed in 2017.
A year previously, in 2016, a friend told me about a little-known company called ActiveCampaign.
“It’s almost an InfusionSoft-level CRM, but without the price tag,” she said.
Obviously, I was skeptical.
She wasn’t wrong though. Well, it’s very close – at least it gives us a taste of what’s possible.
And it planted a seed of doubt in my mind. Maybe Aweber wasn’t the holy grail of mid-budget autoresponders, after all?
So I started an afternoon of intense caffeine-fueled research.
Not Your Grandfathers Autoresponder
To my amazement, the email marketing scene had changed since I last took the time to look. And Aweber’s leading position had slipped, considerably.
Now, I’m not one to jump onto the latest and greatest shiny objects. If you’re familiar with my videos, blog posts and podcast then you’ll know I favor using methods, techniques, and technology that can stand the test of time. I like things to be consistent, predictable and reliable.
I’m a creature of habit and I know what I like.
I also believe in brand loyalty and Aweber had always been good to me.
It had always worked as I expected it to. I didn’t feel like there was any real reason to jump ship.
It’s not like I felt that I was missing out on anything – I’d never seen any of that fancy automation stuff in action and truthfully, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about anyway.
So, maybe if things started going wrong with Aweber, on then would I think about moving.
Then a few weeks later, a turning point came when I read a post on the Thrive Themes blog. As soon as I hit the page, a lightbox popup took over the browser window and gave me three choices – it asked me to choose which area of my business I was currently focused on.
When I made my choice, it showed an opt-in form, so I signed up. I was in awe of the lightbox, the way it made things interactive. Of course, it was only a standard two-step opt-in form, but it was presented in such a way that I felt involved.
It was the first time I had been given a choice about the type of content I wanted to receive.
So then, curious to learn how it was done, I went back and repeated the process twice more, for each of the options I didn’t choose the first time around.
I was amazed to see that behind the scenes, I was being sent to different stages of the same funnel.
Theme envy, I think it’s called.
So I contacted Thrive Themes and asked them directly how they did it. A combination of Thrive Leads and ActiveCampaign, they told me.
This was now the exact set up I wanted for my sites. At the time, the doors to Profit Copilot had been shut, but I immediately saw how it could benefit my main site, RINF.
I imagined the millions of people who visit my site now being given not just one insentive to subscribe to my list, but three. The numbers made me drool.
Straight to Aweber I go, looking for a way to achieve it.
But all I find is frustration.
A long chat with a member of the support team didn’t help much either. It turns out that it’s impossible with Aweber, unless I created three separate email lists, with a sequence for each one.
Should the same person subscribe to all three lists, then I’ll be charged X3 for that one subscriber.
I thought it was a raw deal. Disappointed, I put the idea on the back burner and carry on as normal – for another few weeks.
The final straw came when my emails had stopped going to my subscribers’ inbox and started landing in their junk folders instead.
Aweber’s response was to change the subject line of the confirmation email, even though I was using their recommended default one.
It didn’t make a difference, so I decided to jump ship.
And then something amazing happened.
Almost immediately, my open rates increased – which meant my click through rates climbed and my email list became more responsive.
Suddenly I had a whole new set of tools to use. My email campaigns could now use advanced behavioral technology – so a campaign can change and adapt according to subscriber actions.
How Is It For Affiliate Marketers?
But as good as this sounds, ActiveCampagin isn’t the right solution for everybody. There are some instances when Aweber is the best option.
If your business model is dependent on affiliate marketing, then avoid ActiveCampaign. They don’t like affiliate marketers.
Aweber welcomes this practice with open arms, so if you send a lot of affiliate links to your list, stay put.
I can’t express this enough. If you’re an affiliate marketer you should avoid ActiveCampaign at all costs – it will damage your business.
Imagine logging into your account to see that it’s been frozen. No email notification to warn you, nothing to let you know that your campaigns have stopped running.
That actually happened to one of my friends.
Despite that, this is my only issue with ActiveCampaign. In my experience, all other areas of their support have been top notch so far, but this a major flaw that’s impossible to overlook.
But if you’re a content creator, if you’re a blogger, a YouTuber, Podcaster etc, and don’t send overly promotional emails, then ActiveCampaign is worth a look.
What Does It Do?
Right now, almost every autoresponder on the market has advanced behavioral technology, besides Aweber. So ConvertKit, GetResponse, and even Mailchimp all out-perform Aweber.
I chose ActiveCampaign because it was recommended by my friend who raved about it. We have similar businesses models, so if it works for her then it will probably work for me too.
So here are some of the things it can do, and Aweber can’t:
- A/B split testing
- Campaign segmentation
- Activity logging and tracking
- Behaviour tracking
- Visitor tracking
- Lead scoring
- Pipeline management
- Data filtering
- Advanced automation
- SMS marketing
- Real-time tracking and reporting
You might not think you need all of this, but just the ability to run A/B split tests is now essential for any business that’s using email marketing.
Email marketing as a whole has changed and Aweber has failed to keep up.
So, how exactly can all these new shiny objects help your business?
Well, let’s pretend that you sell apples and oranges. On Monday, you send an email that’s all about apples, and on Tuesday you send another one all about oranges.
If your subscriber opens the email about apples, ActiveCampaign knows and you can automatically trigger for more emails about apples to be sent. If they don’t open the email about oranges, you can automatically stop them from receiving any future emails about oranges.
This level of automation is powerful, it makes sure that your subscribers only receive the type of content they’re interested in. This can make your email list more responsive and can increase the overall engagement of your subscribers.
When I say it’s changed how I run my business, I’m serious. It’s also brought in more revenue, as I’ve been able to re-engage subscribers that I wouldn’t have been able to re-connect with, with Aweber.
So to sum up and to put it bluntly, if you’re a content creator who’s still using Aweber, then you’re losing money.